The ASEAN Committee in Oslo (ACO) met with Norway Foreign Minister Børge Brende on 19 April 2017 at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Myanmar Ambassador Maw Maw, as Chair of ACO, led the ACO delegation, which was composed of the Ambassadors of Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Maria Elena P. Algabre.
The Meeting secured Norway’s support for ACO’s initiatives in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN and discussed possible areas of cooperation under the ASEAN-Norway Sectoral Dialogue Partnership. In affirming Norway’s support to the ASEAN-Norway cooperation, FM Brende underlined that Norway puts high priority to enhancing its relations with ASEAN. He thanked the Philippines, as the current Chair of ASEAN, for inviting him to the ASEAN-Norway Ministerial Meeting in August 2017 to be held at the margins of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings in Manila. He looked forward to visiting Manila for the third time.
FM Brende said that Norway had recognized ASEAN’s strides in forging an internal market, and in being a constructive partner in the global scene. He added that Norway’s partnership with ASEAN had complemented Norway’s strong bilateral relations with individual ASEAN countries. Norway would like to scale up its partnership with ASEAN with “programs that are good, and have added value to the bilateral relations.”
CDA Algabre told FM Brende that the Philippines was pleased to welcome him again in Manila in August. She underlined that promoting women empowerment in the business sector would be an excellent area for ASEAN-Norway cooperation, particularly women in micro, medium and small-scale enterprises (MSMEs). She noted that one of the thematic priorities of the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship is on inclusive growth and support to MSMEs , and mentioned that many MSMEs in ASEAN countries were headed by women. FM Brende welcomed the suggestion, and stressed Norway’s interest in promoting women entrepreneurs.
The ASEAN Committee in Oslo is composed of the diplomatic missions of five ASEAN countries represented in the city, namely Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.